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CATALYST CONSTRUCTION


focusing on projects with real demand rather than chasing trends and speculation.


“We look much healthier in a lot of respects—we were working so fast and


furiously when the market was hot—it was difficult to slow down enough to critique our process. We are better off now after being forced to ‘trim the fat’ from our process,” says Craig Crowley, principal at DCI Engineers, an innovative civil and structural consulting engineering firm with seven offices throughout the United States, including one in Spokane. “Projects are more real,” he says. “Developers are more conservative


and focusing on projects with real demand rather than chasing trends and speculation. The surplus of certain project types is slowly being absorbed and will lead to a stronger and more sustainable construction economy.” Greg Venner, vice president of residential sales of Greenstone Homes, a


community development and home building company best known most recently for the Kendall Yards project in Spokane, expects moderate growth in 2013. “We saw a 50 percent growth in business between 2011 and 2012 and we’re expecting a 35 percent growth this year,” says Venner. “We are happy with that.” Even at 35 percent some of Greenstone’s projects, such as Kendall Yards, cannot be built fast enough. One of the trends Venner has noticed is homeowners’ desire for less square footage and more amenities, such as high- end cabinetry and appliances. Joel White, executive officer of the Spokane Home Builders Association, is


expecting a year slightly better than 2012. White notes that the average price of new home sales is increasing. “Unlike the last couple of years where entry level homes dominated the new construction market,” he says, “the move up market is gaining strength. There were a significant number of homes sold in the $250,000+ price range in 2012.” White notes builders are now building more speculative homes in that price range. “The apartment market has seen significant growth as more people are


uncertain about their economic future,” says White. “To become homebuyers they need to feel secure in their employment and financial future before investing in the purchase of a new home. As more information gets out that housing prices and the economy have stabilized, buyers will again invest in homeownership.” White shares that growth in housing construction has historically led our


economic recovery. “National data consistently shows that three new jobs are created for each new home built in our community. The leadership of our community needs to continue their efforts to encourage and support growth in our region that will lead to new jobs and a need for more housing.”


144 SPOKANE CDA • March • 2013


Removing Roadblocks for Future Success White hopes our region avoids creating


unnecessary regulations and taxation policies that will, ultimately, slow our economic recovery. “We are competing with communities throughout the country for business and new investments and must develop a shared vision that welcomes newcomers while preserving the quality of life we currently enjoy,” he says. “Our community leaders have to be open to growth and promote our region as a great place for business to thrive. There must be a coordinated effort between our local governments, economic development agencies and private investors to sell all that our region can offer.” Douglas Powell, building official for the


City of Spokane Valley, shares his thoughts: “With this being a code cycle year, the industry will need to contend with the adoption of the 2012 Washington State Building Codes which will go into effect on July 1, 2013. Any new regulations that come with the adoption of the new codes pose their own challenges as local jurisdictions and the development community train and become familiar with them.” Spokane Valley’s community development


department plans to move forward with a 2013 business plan to implement steps for enhanced permitting. “The community development team will continue to be a willing partner with the development community by remaining project-focused, by making sure we have the experience and resources available to answer developer questions and fulfill their needs in a timely manner in order to help bring their proposed projects to fruition,” says Powell.


“Developers are more conservative and


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